TIME FOR SOME NEW HEADLINES AND CRIME REPORTS

HEADLINES

PUBLIC RESTROOMS USING FACIAL RECOGNITION TO RATION TOILET PAPER

MUGGERS WIELDING PEPPER SPRAY STEAL MAN’S LAXATIVES IN SAN FRANCSICO

FREE WI-FI USERS NOW LEGALLY BOUND TO CLEAN TOILETS

MONKEYS SWARM OCALA MAN’S PROPERTY

ORGANIZATION ARGUES MONKEYS SHOULD HOLD COPYRIGHTS TO SELFIES

ZOLA THE GORILLA IS HAVING THE TIME OF HIS LIFE DANCING IN A KIDDIE POOL

FAMILY PLACES AD FOR NEW NANNY, AS LAST FIVE HAVE FLED THEIR HAUNTED HOME

COPS DEPLOYED TO PROTECT COMMUNITY FROM HUNGRY GHOST

PENIS-SHAPED ROCK FORMATION FOUND IN NORWAY

MAN ATTEMPTS CROCODILE SEX, ENDS BADLY

MAN GETS $ 870,000 AFTER DOCTORS REMOVE WRONG TESTICLE

IMPOTENT MUST SAY NO TO SAUSAGE AND BACON

WILD WIFE LEAGUE WILL MEET TONIGHT

NASA WANTS TO PROBE URANUS IN SEARCH OF GAS

DECAYING TURTLE OR VULTURE VOMIT, SCIENTISTS REVEAL WORST SMELLS

CRIME REPORTS

WAYNE CO. CRIMINAL ON THE LOOSE   Tony B. Smouse from Williamson resembles a rodent with his twitching whiskers and pointed head and pointed chin and pointed ears. A 34-year-old who has a cheesy past, Smouse was recently released from a NYS correctional facility in April and decided it was high time to take his drug enterprise on the road. By June he was temporarily back in custody again. This time it was in Illinois when he was spotted selling Ecstasy at a Summer Camp music festival. The wily Smouse brought excitement to a peak when he escaped confinement by tampering with the emergency exit on the county transport bus. Like an ecstatic rat he scampered through the crowd and eluded officers. He did leave his wallet, cell phone, and credit card behind but has proven resourceful as he remains a fugitive. Maybe he is stealing money and necessities to survive. There is a day of reckoning due for Smouse, he is wanted on multiple charges in Illinois as well as for parole violations in New York. It is of course only conjecture, but he may have sought shelter with like-minded vermin in the capacious upstate NY agricultural region. So the word is out – if anyone notices a suspicious acting character in Wayne Co., they should contact law enforcement immediately.

STREETER IS BACK ON THE STREETS   Latasha Streeter is a former Lyons resident with bloody lines connecting her to the notorious Weems gang, but this somewhat neurotic vagabond currently calls Newark her home. The pugnacious 28-year-old does the Weems link proud with her aggressive and perhaps even slightly irrational behavior. In a recent episode she boarded a school bus and began abusing and vilifying teen passengers. Some observers thought she may have taken leave of her senses. The sensible bus driver tried to defuse the situation when he told her to get the hell off the bus, however that directive seemed to inflame her even more. A chill descended on the bus when the volume and vehemence of her barrage of insults intensified. One meek 13-year-old was a special target of  her wrath and Natasha called the lass ” a fat whale, a fat blimp, and a whore.” She crossed the line when she threatened to maim the youngster and that was cause for her arrest on charges of Disorderly Conduct and Endangering the Welfare of a Child. Since school is no longer in session she will not have access to school buses so she was promptly released and now Streeter is back on the streets.

NO BAIL FOR WALMART BANDIT   Matt Knowlton hails from Water St. in Lyons. It is a section of the lively local community that abuts the historic Erie Canal (which is why the clever founders named it Water St.) and is distinguished as a haven for a whole cast of unregenerate types and deviants. Matt is only 29 and hardly qualifies as among the more sordid of the natives who largely specialize in sexual depravity and predation. He is benign by comparison; nevertheless he does have his own history as a pathological thief. After repeated arrests for larceny in the Wayne Co. Walmarts and finally getting permanently banished from those locations, he cast a wider net and was caught twice on the same day stealing merchandise from the bustling upscale Canandaigua Walmart store. He explained to State Police that he was always given extra chances in Wayne Co. but the officers were not terribly sympathetic and he is incarcerated in Ontario Co. Jail with no bail, and is reportedly now banned from the Walmarts in another county.

ANOTHER THIEF CAUGHT IN WAYNE CO.   There seems to be something about the summer heat that brings out the sticky-fingered impulses of the county’s inhabitants. Staff working at the FasTrac in the lovely Town of Rose on Lake Ontario sensed something was fishy about Jenny Gill when sweaty Jenny prowled the aisles then exited the store without making a purchase. After consulting with expert analysts who examined the store’s videotape surveillance, it was determined that the 21-year-old had pilfered over $ 30 of candy. You might say that Gill was in hot water. State Police hooked her after closing the pursuit net and she has been charged with Petit Larceny. Jenny admitted to the judge that she used poor judgment and never would have stolen the treats if she knew there was video surveillance and pledged never to steal from that store again. That explanation seemed adequate to the judge who released Gill with appearance tickets for a later court date.

OUT, OUT, DAMN BEER !   Wolcott is the scene of our final report of the week and it features one of the more unusual domestic quarrels in recent months. On this occasion, the original victim was not a person but cans of Keystone beer. When wretched Roberta Scott realized her beloved boyfriend brought home the Keystone, she fidgeted and sniffed then got all keyed up and came unhinged. The salivating Scott attacked the innocent alcohol containers. The weapon of choice for this 48-year-old with brown hair and sharply pointed witch-like facial features was a trusty kitchen steak knife with a sharp point of its own.

It was said you could almost hear the booze squeal in anguish as it groaned and gurgled before it ejaculated a foamy stream. It turned into a sticky situation. Can after can met a cruel fate as the sadistic Scott plunged and twisted with devilish delight. The boyfriend was taken aback by the onslaught and in a desperate effort to salvage some stock he came between the sole remaining can and the serial steak knife stalker. This was a clear miscalculation as the steamy Scott made it clear she would substitute skin for suds and slashed away with abandon shredding his biceps. It was said he grimaced in pain as his hand massaged the mangled flesh and blood oozed between his fingers. It was that old sticky situation thing again.  Finally, when the beer and human casualty list was counted, Scott’s rage was spent, State Police were called, and she was arrested for Assault. The Keystone debris was collected as evidence and the boyfriend was treated for his wounds at a hospital. And don’t think Scott is getting off scot-free, damaging beer cans is a serious offense in Wayne Co. so she is in jail on $ 5,000 bail and yearns for the days when Budweiser was hailed as the ” King of Beers.”

 

PT. IV – BOOKS AS WEAPONS OF PEACE

THE BATTLE FOR THE MIND OF EUROPE

On June 6, 1944, one of WW II’s most iconic scenes features Allied troops wading ashore during the D-Day invasion. Two weeks after the military had achieved its initial objectives and secured a foothold on the European continent, a more obscure invasion transpired – the invasion of books. A flotilla of eighty pound boxes of books were transported to the French shore. The Nazi-imposed intellectual famine on Europe was in its death throes. The battle for the mind of Europe commenced.  It would be a project with a broad agenda, not only meeting immediate reading needs but also part of the mission to “de-Nazify” Europe and eventually Germany. As it was a government sponsored program, de-Nazify didn’t have enough syllables so “disintoxification” became the more formal terminology. There was and remains some dispute over the motives. The U.S. described the program as ” cultural diplomacy”, others characterized it in less flattering terms, dubbing it “biblio-imperialism.” There is some evidence to bolster the latter judgment as the OSEs (Overseas Editions) came with the logo of the Statue of Liberty stamped on the covers. However one chooses to label it, the intent was clear: ” eradicate whatever remained of Nazism.”

For the West European nations, once the Germans were in headlong retreat, American cooperation with local booksellers and publishers was coordinated and the structure for a distribution network was established. Emphasis was on books that had been banned by the Nazis since 1940, then more traditional works such as the classics were integrated into the delivery chain. This of course would require translators, and in one of the ironies of the war, many multi-lingual Jews who had fled Europe during the 1930s and 40s were employed to provide that service. New York City had been the destination for many of the refugees and this put the newcomers in proximity to many American publishing operations. After being forced from Europe they now were instrumental in rehabilitating it. Like many other Europeans who migrated to the U.S. because of Nazi persecution, they were often intellectuals and authors and added an international flavor and cosmopolitanism to the American publishing industry.

While the intricacies of supplying Europe with reading material was underway, back in the U.S., disintoxification was initiated in POW camps that held Germans and Italians. Books condemning fascism and promoting democracy were issued to the POWs. Technically, because of Geneva Convention regulations, the inmates could not receive books that subjected them to indoctrination. God forbid that people who grew up under the Hitler and Mussolini regimes be exposed to indoctrination. To circumvent that restriction, books for POWs were designated as “recreation materials” and there was a charge of 25 cents per book. This gave the veneer of voluntary purchases albeit in a mandatory sort of way. The hope was that the fascists could be re-educated and they would return to Europe to promote the virtues of democracy and capitalism. To some extent that aim was fulfilled as the repatriated soldiers would become part of the bureaucratic machinery of the new Europe.

It would be remiss not to note that there was a plan in place for Japan. This extended to Asian countries that had succumbed to the Japanese. This was more problematic than the European undertaking because there weren’t a large number of Americans who were bi-lingual in Asian languages to do translation work. The war also concluded rather suddenly in the Pacific theater so the building blocks for gradual progress were not in place as they were in Europe.

Advancing the project in Germany proper was also fraught with difficulties. In addition to the widespread destruction of many cities and functional facilities was the problem of shared or “quadripartite” postwar occupation. The U.S., Britain, and France assumed control in what would become West Germany while the Soviets were assigned (or usurped) the eastern part. Ultimately Berlin would become a hotspot and tripwire in the forthcoming Cold War as the Allies and Soviets jockeyed for position and influence. In later decades, one future Russian leader serving in the KGB would be active in E. Germany as he worked to further the Communist cause. That was of course Vladimir Putin.

Now the books as weapons of peace had a double mission: de-Nazify Germany and counter the growing Soviet menace. Germany which had once been the battleground for the ideologies of Fascism and Marxism, was the venue for a new power struggle between Capitalism and Communism. Many of the American- issued titles for Germany included anti-socialist content and the propaganda (or cultural diplomacy) clashes ensued.

In March, 1945, The New York Times described Europe as the ” New Dark Continent.” Many areas in Europe, particularly Germany, had seen their infrastructure demolished and civil society wobbled on the edge of disintegration. Thirty million “displaced” people roamed the continent. The Soviets had asserted themselves and became the new totalitarian presence in east and central Europe. For humanitarian, political, and propaganda purposes, books served as ” paper bullets”: weapons of war and weapons of peace. They would bring light to Europe. West Germany would emerge as a vibrant democracy with unprecedented economic vitality. Nazi tyranny had failed – they lost the war of ideas. With all their morally repugnant book burning and censorship, they could not obliterate truth from the mental landscape of mankind.

Rod Serling, a combat veteran of WW II and later the producer of The Twilight Zone, via his mouthpiece ” The Librarian” , makes a statement about censorship and book burning: ” You cannot destroy truth by burning pages.” 

Part III of Series – Paper Bullets

III – THE U.S.: THE ARSENAL OF LITERACY

The U.S. would not only transform its industrial engine into a military colossus, to wit ” The Arsenal of Democracy”, but in response to needs in Europe and American men in the armed services, it would mount the largest mass publishing campaign in history. In the concluding section, we will address the commitment to rehabilitating Europe after the peril of Nazism was vanquished, but first will focus on how the U.S. furnished American soldiers provisions to meet their growing reading appetites.  After some fits and starts, the demand would be accommodated. By the time the last shipments of books was sent to American troops occupying Germany and Japan in 1947, 123 million ASEs and 18 million books from the initial Victory Book Campaign had been delivered since the project began in 1942. ASEs were Armed Services Editions. There were actually several variations and acronyms, but for simplicity’s sake, I am going use the umbrella ASE designation.

As with all grand historical narratives and accomplishments, librarians would heroically rise to the occasion. In January, 1942, just a month after the debacle at Pearl Harbor plunged America into the war, the Victory Book Campaign commenced. Althea Warren took a four month leave-of-absence from her position at a Los Angeles library to launch the project. Her mission was to supply our soldiers with books. She attracted support from celebrities such as Benny Goodman and Kathryn Hepburn and within two weeks, 400,000 books were donated and collected. In just one month, the figure exceeded a million books. FDR even declared April 17 – Victory Book Day. Despite the widespread support, they would still fall far short of the goal of 10 million, and the effort would not prove adequate to meet the demand as ultimately the U.S. would have 16.1 million serving in various military roles.  And despite the good intentions, it was to an extent a haphazard project as there was no control over the titles of the many hardcovers collected. Some books such as ” How to Knit: An Undertaker’s Review”, and” Theology in 1870″ were of suspect value and hardly made gripping reading material for the troops.

The ALA (Amer. Library Assoc.) did coordinate their effort with Richard Trautman, a lieutenant with a library degree who was in charge of the library section of the Army. Again, that was still not sufficient, so by 1943, the government established the “ Council on Books During Wartime” and usurped the project from the librarians. The gallant book purveyors weren’t happy about it but practically speaking, the library effort simply couldn’t marshal the necessary resources. With the fusion of government and the publishing houses, the output would increase significantly.  And of paramount importance, there would be a shift to production of paperbacks. In 1939, fewer than 200,000 paperbacks were in the distribution network; by 1943, it would soar to over 40 million and continue into the postwar. 

The prior statistics bear further explanation. The U.S. would inherit domination of publishing circles because during the Nazi bombing raids on England, 17 major publishing houses were demolished; and of course countries on the European continent were constrained by Nazi censorship so their output was feeble, at best. Another important variable in the conversion to paperbacks were the rationing regulations in America. Paper was among the many items on the rationing list so paper use for books had to be reduced by a 1/4th. To adapt, paperbacks were produced that were 3/4ths of an inch thick. This was amenable to the troops as they could slip it into a pocket; an option not available with the bulkier hardcovers.  To comply with manpower needs in the publishing empires, many employees were granted exemptions from military service as the proliferation of reading materials was considered essential to the war effort.

Once the government was established as the main vehicle for production, the obvious questions ensued: What was to be read? And who decides? For both Americans, and later Europeans, councils were formed to determine titles and allocation. The primary oversight was the responsibility of the War Panel Board. Input came from a variety of quarters and it was said ” Everybody but the janitor was involved.” Nearly 12,000 titles were eventually approved. Books that offered a diversion from the strain and savagery of war were most welcome. It was hoped they would achieve a humanizing effect and offer a connection to civilian life. The 1943 novel ” A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” by Betty Smith would be among the most popular selections. Smith would be deluged with correspondence from soldiers expressing their gratitude. Now a standard part of the American literary canon – F. Scott Fitzgerald’s ” The Great Gatsby” would be rescued from obscurity. Another choice of interest was James Thurber’s ” Is Sex Necessary?”  Since many of the soldiers were males in the 17-25 age group and with the U.S. experiencing the ensuing postwar ” Baby Boom”, we can infer they indeed did think sex was necessary.

It would be remiss not to include the Bible, which also saw a surge in popularity. One enterprising outfit tried to peddle a steel-covered edition, touted as the ” Shield of Faith.” The government looked with askance on such an innovation as steel was required for military consumption. The Bibles with their thin sheets were popular as rolling paper for cigarettes, and for emergency use as toilet paper. This was particularly true for our POWs and one chaplain recommended they start with the Book of Revelation as no one understood it anyway.  Regardless of the title, the ASEs were so popular it was said that ” A man was out of uniform if he didn’t have a paperback sticking out his pocket.” And that to heave one in the garbage was ” tantamount to striking your grandmother.”

Magazines were also part of the immense publishing undertaking. As with books, by 1943, the distribution system was operating in full stride. Favorites included Baseball, Life, Look, Superman, Captain America, and the recently released Wonder Woman. Arrayed in red, white, and blue, the resolute and intrepid heroine preyed on villains of German and Japanese stock. Her attire would generate some consternation. Often presented as naked as possible, troops found her appealing, the Legion of American Decency did not. Military sponsored newspapers such as Stars and Stripes, Yank, and Army Weekly were also prominent. There was a distinct dislike of magazines that contained serial stories. One never knew if they would be intact to read stories that were to be continued.

To this point, the emphasis has been on male reading preferences. There were also a number of females serving in various capacities. Their choices were rather limited and for many who were knee deep in blood and mud and exposed to war in all its grotesque manifestations, the powers-that-be assumed there was nothing more edifying for an overseas nurse, WAC, or WAVE than the latest edition of Good Housekeeping or The Ladies Home Journal. 

A major rumpus would erupt in 1944 when Republican Senator Robert A. Taft from Ohio, who had his eyes on the presidential nomination to challenge FDR, inserted a revision in the Soldier Voting Act which dealt with absentee ballots. In essence, Taft imposed a ban on books that were subject to political interpretation. Taft and other Republicans believed that both fiction and nonfiction books contained coded messages that would seduce troops into voting for FDR. Our troops fighting for freedom and against regimes that were oppressive censors, would now be censored themselves. The Army tried to conform to the directive: ” When in doubt, leave it out.”

As expected, this created an uproar. A Lynchburg newspaper angrily derided the amendment: ” Under the provisions, everything but cookbooks and fairy tales will be banned. We might as well join the Nazis and stop fighting them.” The San Antonio News took up the soldiers’ cause: ” One would think that the men fighting the nation’s battles would be quite able to decide for themselves what to read.”

Taft intensified the fury when he tipped his hand and insulted troops in a public statement when he declared that soldiers weren’t knowledgeable about issues and candidates and would probably vote for FDR. Somewhere in his cognitive malfunction he neglected to consider that soldiers who were combating ferocious foes and in great peril, had a right to vote for anyone they damn well chose. Even the Army reached its tolerance level when it was announced ” The Official Guide to the Army Air Force” would be banned because it contained a picture of FDR as commander-in-chief. The tide of opinion had shifted against Taft and the legislation, and it was amended to reduce the restrictions.

Taft’s plans were foiled and he was hardly a smashing success as he did not secure the Republican nomination and FDR would also win his fourth term. However the book program would be a monumental success. It would not only achieve its short-term goals of providing entertainment to the military personnel but cultivated reading habits that changed the landscape of publishing and American education. As indicated previously, 40 million paperbacks were in circulation by 1943, the numbers would continue to climb, in 1947, they reached 95 million; in 1952, 270 million; and in 1959, paperbacks exceeded hardcovers in sales for the first time.

For the soldiers, of whom just one in four had a high school education, and just one in ten, some college course week, the new wave of enthusiasm for reading and learning would spill into the postwar and be manifest with the leap in college attendance, augmented by the G.I. Bill. Which would prove to be the most successful government program in history.

For our concluding section, we return to the European venue and examine the dramatic social effects of Books as Paper Bullets.

 

 

HEADLINES AND CRIME FROM WAYNE

HEADLINES

FATAL MUDSLIDE BLAMED ON HILL

FISH AROUND ON NEW WEBSITES

JURY CLEARS COW IN CAR ACCIDENT

THREE AMBULANCES TAKE BLAST VICTIM TO HOSPITAL

EXPERT SAYS IGNORANCE MAY WORSEN SITUATION

BEAR SURPRISES RUNNERS DURING COLORADO RACE

HAZMAT CREW CALLED TO DISNEYLAND AFTER GEESE POOP ON GUESTS

PEACOCK CAUSES $ 500 IN DAMAGES AFTER CRASHING CALIFORNIA LIQUOR STORE

CALIFORNIA MAN SHOT IN HAND WITH RICE KRISPIES

WYOMING WOMAN CAUGHT SHOPLIFTING SAYS SHE IS STUDYING KLEPTOMANIA

FLORIDA WOMAN STEALS NEARLY $ 100,000 TO FINANCE BUTT LIFT

MAN LEADS DEPUTIES ON LOW-SPEED CHASE IN STOLEN TRUCK AFTER HE IS UNABLE TO DRIVE STICK SHIFT

DRONES ARE BEING USED BY SCIENTISTS TO COLLECT WHALE SNOT

WATCH A STRANGE WALKING FISH THAT HAS EXPERTS STUMPED

FIREFIGHTERS RESCUE WOMAN WITH LEG STUCK IN TOILET

MARRIAGE WON’T MAKE SENSE WHEN HUMANS LIVE 1,000 YEARS

TRY THE APP THAT DOES NOTHING

NUDE WOMAN DISPLAYS NEW WARDROBE

CRIME IN WAYNE COUNTY

PRICE BACK IN PEN   One of our habitual criminals, Matt Price (48) from Clyde is back in the pen again. Price as you may recall was last arrested for trying to sleep in front of a bus stop, this led to a confrontation where he sprayed some spittle and salty phrasing at cringing Lyons residents and overworked police. The week before that he became a nuisance when he tried to snooze in the middle of a street, then unleashed a colorful stream of insults when he was disturbed by police. Matt has a drinking problem. In still another incident, while already intoxicated, he was drinking a six-pack in the tranquil Lyons park , and of course he barked at officers when they insisted he exit the premises. He is no respecter of gender or religion. On still another occasion, he followed chaste Wayne County Girl Scouts into a church – and made suggestions about possible anatomical variations they should employ for pleasure purposes. Matt has a little bit of a perverted streak. Now this is going to amaze you, but this week Price was arrested again for Disorderly Conduct, Obscene Language and Gestures. When Matt sprawled under a stoplight, he was rudely prodded by officers and this inspired an outburst which included some choice selections from his rich vocabulary and the use of a universally recognized signal of contempt that involved the extension of his middle finger. Price was reportedly sleeping well after taking his weekly shower at the county jail following a hearing where he was remanded on $ 250 bail.  We can expect he will be released soon and people are already starting a pool and betting on when Price will be in the pen again.

HOMELESS HOUSE HAS A NEW HOME    Bob A. House is a homeless light-skinned 36-year-old from Macedon who has a light brown mustache and long light-brown hair that extends beyond his shoulders. On a dark December night the light House discreetly disposed of a heavy load of forty-six used tires on the edge of a Macedon road. It is suspected that he was paid to perform this illegal dump because after that mission was complete, the mysterious House vanished. Maybe he used the income to secretly secure shelter; and I don’t want to speculate, but maybe he used it to support an illegal habit. Whatever the reason, he left behind a striking clue – a discarded prescription bottle with his name on it. That error would come back to haunt House.  A warrant was issued for his arrest and now the House hunting is over. He has been located and arrested for Unlawful Disposal of Solid Waste. He now resides at the spacious Wayne Co. jail and doesn’t seem the worse for it as the homeless House has a new home.

BELL RINGS UP MORE CHARGES   The time: Tuesday, 6/20, 11:17 p.m. The location: Canal St., Lyons, NY. Canal St. extends from its cultural peak at the top of the street which features the Ohman Theater, then slopes past pizza parlors where any number of Yankee and Bills fans congregate and commiserate, it meanders with a slight curve taking you into the bustling network of drug galleries and other tenements of ill-repute, and then continues for blocks through residential sections that are speckled with an occasional criminal or three before it comes to an abrupt halt at the very lively Lyons cemetery.

Yes, Canal St., the Mule lived on it for ten years and can attest it is the main artery in town, the very lifeblood of the community.  And it is a blood-stained street. Bandits, thieves, robbers, and assailants of every stripe and color have plied their trade on Canal. On one occasion, one brave dweller even challenged two German Shepherds to a wrestling match – and lost; decisively. In still another exciting episode a few years back, the natives held a fish throwing contest. They would collect dead fish that washed ashore at the canal a block away, then line up on opposite sides of the street and pelt each other with the slimy carcasses. A good time was had by all, although there was a noticeable stench as the street was littered with dead fish the next morning.

But now on to the main story, Chris Bell from Lyons, hunts for a different kind of fish – unsuspecting motorists who may be leisurely traveling beguiling Canal St. The 22-year-old Bell (whom you may recall has been arrested multiple times) likes to throw things at passing cars, preferably through open windows, and when the driver stops, Bell pounces. On the date and time cited above, he did just that, striking the somewhat suprised victim causing multiple eye and lip lacerations. State Police arrived on the scene and Bell was charged with Assault, earning him another trip to the county jail with bail set at a modest $ 500. He will be out in no time so I advise folks who plan to travel the streets of Lyons late at night to keep their windows rolled up and don’t stop if you notice any suspicious looking characters.

A SOUR NOTE FOR CONCERT   Christopher C. Concert is just 25-years-old, and this well-shaved Newark lad with the brown wavy hair and high-pitched voice seems destined to tumble down an irreversible criminal path. Concert was keyed up when he was arrested on a warrant for Failure to Appear in Court. And why was he supposed to appear in court? Because he is a thief who had been charged on prior counts but shown leniency and released. Judges in Newark try to reserve space in the county jail for the vampire and werewolf impersonators who swarm the city streets enacting scenes from their favorite horror shows; often leaving victims bloodied and distressed.  But this time the string of patience had expired for Concert, he was incarcerated with bail set at $2500.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PART TWO OF BOOKS AS PAPER BULLETS: WEAPONS OF WAR

THE REICH AND OCCUPIED TERRITORIES

” Robbing people of words and narratives is a way of imprisoning them.” – Anders Rydell

We have covered the book burnings, and now turn to banning, censorship, and theft. Note there is a difference between banning and censorship. Banning is obviously outright elimination of books whereas censorship is editing and altering or removing certain words and phrases.

Under the Reich, you were not only told what you couldn’t read, but what you would read.

Goering was in charge of ” Eliminating dirty literature – Marxism, Jewish writing, and porn.”  So there was a movement to ban books entirely, but there was required reading as well.

Mein Kampf  became sanctioned state reading in 1935. It was given to every newly wed couple as a wedding gift. No doubt nothing stirred the romantic passion and erotic impulses on a honeymoon more than the rantings of Hitler.

But in more sinister fashion, it became a textbook and required reading in German schools. And it is instructive to look at education and demographics in Germany during the Reich. Until the Nazis assumed control in 1933, the German education system was the best in the world. They were not yet the ” cultural barbarians” that would hoist the Swastika over the Parthenon, destroy Tchaikovsky’s manuscripts and defecate on Tolstoy’s grave in Russia.  They had produced 33 Nobel Prize winners, compared to 5 in the U.S. Ironically and unfortunately for their Aryan narrative, many of the German winners were Jews like Einstein and Fritz Haber.

Under the Nazis, the education system would be transformed from top to bottom. There would be stress on pseudo-history and pseudo-science. Historical and scientific theories of Aryan racist supremacy became of paramount importance. It should be noted that such perversity was not unique to Germany. The American Red Cross had to keep black and white blood supplies segregated during WW II. Back to Germany. By 1937, teachers were sent to “retraining” camps where they learned parts of the new curriculum featuring such courses as ” The Truth of Mein Kampf”, and ” Racial Hygiene.”

Much of the new ideology was based on the philosophical architects of the Reich – Adolf Hitler, and Alfred Rosenberg. Rosenberg was an anti-Semitic Baltic German (not Jewish despite the name) who made the myth of the Nordic blood/Aryan blood fashionable. This bloodline was connected to a ” higher racial soul” that must be purified by eliminating inferior peoples. His theory also de-emphasized the value of individual as they cemented their commitment to the new Reich ideology or pseudo-religion as it was.

Nazi thought was toxic and it infected the minds of an entire generation. And the schools became the main vehicle for perpetrating the mythology. Many teachers wore Nazi uniforms to class and every day began and ended with ” Heil Hitler” salutes. There is an old Jesuit saying, ” If we have their minds by age seven, we have their minds for good.” So the indoctrination was pervasive. Tenure in American academia is certainly controversial, but there is a good reason for it. It protects instructors from being subject to enforcing indoctrination and pandering to the whims of ideological drivel pushers.

So who were these empty vessels of such indoctrination? For an answer to that, we turn to the topic of Demographics.

Because of the catastrophe and fatalities in WW I, there would be many orphans. The state or Hitler would become the new “Father” and source of authority. (Note this would also be true in post-WW I Russia where Stalin recruited from the orphanages so he had a generation of malleable minds.)  Young people were prime candidates for intellectual pollution as they were the most susceptible to authority figures. Germany had been rebuilding, a ” baby boom” was well underway. When Hitler took control in 1933, 2/3rds of the population was under 40. There had already been a steady diet of resentment for the harsh WW I treaty imposed on Germany, mixed with a hefty dose of German nationalism and anti-Semitism. By Krystallnacht in 1938, many of the boomers were reaching adulthood and were true believers in the Nazi cause. Many of the bureaucrats of the Reich during the war were in the age range of 18-25.

This would make “de-Nazifying” Germany in the postwar extremely difficult, if not impossible. The belief system was too ingrained. It would not be until the Eichmann trial in Israel in 1961 when many mainstream Germans finally came to grips with the atrocities of the war and the Holocaust. For some, they would never concede the truth and the Holocaust denials continue.

OCCUPATION

For the twelve nations who came under German control, many would suffer an “intellectual famine” and in East and Central Europe, a ” cultural genocide.” In many places, a ” burning quota” was imposed. Poland would be the primary victim. There was detailed documentation of the widespread destruction that even included children’s books. It is estimated that over 70 % of the books in Poland were destroyed. In Lublin, Jews were forced to watch as their precious heritage at the Talmudic academy and library were consumed in flames.

In Western Europe, there was banning and censorship and plunder.  In France, the collaborationist Vichy government took to the banning project with enthusiasm, even accidentally banning Mein Kampf in their zeal.

The Netherlands had for centuries been a refuge for dissidents and had the largest collection of Socialist manuscripts in the West, including the original drafts of the works of Marx and Engels. It was also a repository for centuries of Jewish publications and documents, many dating back to the Inquisition when Jews fled to the Netherlands. The Nazi approach here and in other parts of Western Europe was somewhat different. Instead of destruction, there was confiscation. They were not only burners but Book Thieves.

The purpose of the theft was to reinforce their ideology. They looked for evidence of Jewish conspiracy theories. Obviously they were selective about their use of sources and interpretation. In one rather odd twist, they pilfered many Masonic and church works. They claimed that the Masonic movement was controlled by Jews and part of a vast international conspiracy. Obviously this was absurd as the Masons were almost exclusively Christian with minimal Jewish participation.

Many of the stolen books went to two branches of the Reich. One to Himmler and the SS, purportedly to be used for ” intelligence” purposes. The other was under the control of the aforementioned Alfred Rosenberg, who would continue to use them to further build his case for Aryan superiority and as a justification for the Holocaust.

Private collections were often a target because for many Jews, having quality private libraries was considered a status symbol. Many such collections included works and documents of rabbis dating back to the Middle Ages. Vilnius, Lithuania had a particularly impressive stock of holdings. This included many works in Hebrew and Yiddish. The Jews were forced to classify the documents before they were shipped back to Germany. There was resistance however. A number of items were smuggled into hiding, including a diary of Theodore Herzl, the founder of Zionism.

RETURNING THE BOOKS

When the war concluded, millions of books were scattered throughout Europe. Since 1945 and continuing to the present, there has been a dedicated effort of scholars and specialists committed to retrieving books and returning (repatriating) them to descendants of the original owners. The Monuments Men of recent film fame, not only recovered art but substantial quantities of books as well.

The painstaking task of returning the books is fraught with many obstacles. The Nazis frequently tore out labels, wrote over dedications, and were committed to erasing the memory of the owners. They would often write in their own names and offer the books as gifts. Another problem was the Russians. When they advanced into Berlin causing the capitulation of the Reich, they pillaged at will and numerous railroad cars carried the booty, including books, back to the Soviet Union. Stalin never honored the agreement that prohibited the plunder of cultural objects, and it is not likely that Putin ever will either. Other nations in Eastern Europe that came under Soviet domination such as Czechoslovakia have also resisted repatriation of the books.

Remarkably, many of the copies smuggled out of Europe or discovered during the postwar ended up at the U.S. Library of Congress. It is estimated that there are a million such works under their supervision and there has been no move to return them to the descendants.

Israel would be not only a refuge for Jews fleeing Europe but approximately 200,000 books were salvaged and and preserved there. And the process goes on throughout Europe, with specialists wading through unorganized stacks and piles, verifying ownership, and hopefully rescuing vital parts of the Jewish tradition.

In our next section, we will examine the large-scale movement to supply Europe with books, ending the ” intellectual famine”; and equally important, the effort to supply overseas American military personnel with reading materials to lighten their enormous burden in vanquishing the German and Japanese military machines.

PAPER BULLETS: BOOKS AS WEAPONS OF WAR

” Books cannot be killed by fire … No man and no force can put thought in a concentration camp forever. In this war, we know books are weapons.” – President Franklin D. Roosevelt

Introduction

Beginning with the massive book burnings in Germany in 1933 when Hitler and the Nazis took power, and continuing through the war during the Nazi occupation of much of Europe, and into the postwar when the Allies tried to “de-Nazify” Europe and the Reich, books would be considered “Paper Bullets”. They would be weapons in the war of ideas and ideologies, and agents of propaganda. (Key term – ideology – a system of thought that purports to explain all of history and all of reality.)

And equally important for this lecture, books would serve as a major source of diversion and information for American servicemen and women overseas. This would have a dramatic impact on the publishing trade and be immensely influential in the future of American education via the G.I. Bill.

I. Germany: 1930s, Book Burnings.

The 19th century German poet Heinrich Heine is credited with saying: ” Where they burn books, they will also burn people.” He certainly proved prophetic on that count.                                            He also said, ” Every woman is the gift of a world to me.” But his romantic leanings are outside the purview of this discussion.

The most infamous of the book burnings took place on May 10, 1933. There are many videos of this available on YouTube.                  Contrary to conventional thought, these were not formally organized by the Nazi Party and government, but by Right-Wing student associations that were pro-Nazi and they would certainly use Nazi rhetoric to justify their conduct. Literature had to be “purified” from people who thought in an “un-German” way.  Jews were considered the primary enemy of the German language and the stance was they should be required to write only in Hebrew, so they didn’t pollute the German language. This would eventually become a moot point as the Nazi war machine would come to dominate much of Europe and burn books in many languages including Hebrew. The estimates are that over 100 million books would be destroyed – it would later be labeled the bibliocaust.

The students had established ” war committees” to organize the event. Books with the ” un-German spirit” were to be purged from libraries, schools, government offices, and even private collections. The bonfires were celebratory occasions promoted by posters and featuring guest speakers. Teachers and intellectuals who opposed such cultural depravity were threatened, and posters proclaimed: ” Today the writers, tomorrow the professors.”

Literature was not the only target. History, science, and the social sciences were also consigned to the flames. Einstein’s “Jewish Physics” was considered an abomination, and his works along with Freud’s, among many others were on the eradication lists. One of the most famous novels marked for destruction was German writer Erich Maria Remarque’s ” All Quiet on the Western Front.” As it gave a more nuanced view of World War One, indeed, is regarded as an anti-war book, it ran counter to the Nazi glorification of war. Fascist states are built on violence and war. Remarque, Horace Mann, and nearly 2,000 other German writers would flee the country by 1939. This was a massive defection that would significantly impact American publishing, a topic to be addressed later in the lecture.

As indicated, on May 10, 1933, over 90 different cities held book burnings. In many cases they were very ritualized. Books were transported by oxen on manure carts, simulating medieval executions.  The procession was accompanied by Chopin’s Funeral March, and there was singing and marching, concession stands, and ” fire oaths.” It was all very intoxicating for the participants as the fire oaths identified the names of the writers and the charges against them were recited.

Obviously nothing of this scale could be conducted without the assent of Hitler and the Nazis, who did help coordinate it. The events were broadcast live on the radio and camera crews were assigned to capture the moment. Goebbels gave his blessing in a speech and declared it was a symbol of a ” reborn Germany”, needless to say, this gave it a quasi-religious cloak of sanction. It served as a symbol of purification via fire and ritual that reinforced the ideology of the regime.

The misdeeds would continue through the summer and rather chillingly much later on Kristallnacht on November 9, 1938, where not only was a great deal of Jewish property destroyed, but books as well. 11/9 is a date that resonates deeply in German history. The Kaiser abdicated on 11/9/1918; the Beer Hall Putsch was on 11/9/1923; and more recently, the fall of the Berlin Wall on 11/9/1989.

When I resume, I will examine censorship and banning of books in Reich occupied Europe.

 

 

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